Recently, I invented a word that completely encapsulates my obsession with things like babywearing, cloth diapering, peaceful parenting and breastfeeding… it’s called MomNerd.
I believe it is time to retire the Unplanned Parenthood series and move on to a new one for this new chapter… The MomNerd files. In this category you will now find all things parenting and Roree-related.
And what better way to kick off the series than to share newbie-groupie (beginner) tips?
When I was first researching cloth diapering, I was so overwhelmed and eventually had to sit back and tell myself that I could do all the research in the world, but when it came down to it, I wouldn’t know what would work best until I started using them.
Approaching the world of Cloth Diapering, for me, required a decent amount of preparation… and an open mind.
Like I mentioned before, I initially thought the idea of cloth diapering was sickening.
Actually, before I was pregnant, I didn’t even know people still USED cloth diapers at all!
Then, as I did more research, talked to friends and saw them in action myself, I was converted. I was a believer.
Now that I’m using them, I’m a groupie.
That’s right. A Cloth Diaper Groupie.
As a semi-newbie, but mostly groupie cloth diapering MomNerd, this post is my advice to those who are interested in trying out cloth diapering. Since I don’t have long-term experience, I can’t really give long term advice, but I do have initial experience that I can dispense.
And here it is.
First, read my post on Cute Baby Butts.
There, I compiled a ton of great information to get you started and understanding the whole cloth diapering process.
And yes, it is a process. But it’s so worth it and surprisingly fun!
Find out if you have hard water.
This is important because it affects what type treatment (if any) you’ll need for your water. Hard water does annoying things to cloth diapers, but you don’t have to give up altogether! I haven’t done a TON of research on hard water, but I have heard that Rockin Green Detergent is great for hard water, as well as Calgon.
If you do have hard water, just do your research and ask around!
Start Your Stash
My approach was researching all I could about the different types of cloth diapers (All-in-Ones, All-in-twos, pockets, prefolds, flats, covers, fitteds, oh my!), talking to friends who use cloth diapers to find out what they like best and why… and also seeing them in action to decide which ones I thought I would like to use the best. I then decided that pockets seemed like what would work best for me, but I also wanted to keep my options open to other types as well.
Initially, I thought the best way to go about trying all types of diapers was to do a trial with Jillian’s Drawers or rent diapers, but then I decided to just start buying diapers and if I didn’t like them, I’d resell them.
Of course, I didn’t just start buying at random, I set a very specific limit for myself and had a very specific list I would abide by.
Like I said, I knew I’d probably like pockets best, so I got mostly pockets and then just a few others.
Cloth Diaper Stash Building Guidelines (in the style of Bri):
- Do not spend more than $10 on a diaper
- Buy new if possible (Zulily is GREAT for cheap new diapers, as well as co-ops. I got a TON of pocket diapers for around $4/each via a co-op)
- Buy only excellent used condition
- Buy only super cute diapers!
Ok, #4 wasn’t essential, but surprisingly I had a lot of options, so I stuck with it.
I soon found that I would very likely buy 5 billion cloth diapers if I was not careful, so I set a limit to each kind that I purchased.
Again, mostly pockets, but I wanted to try out others as well. Feel free to adjust this list if you think you’d prefer one type of diaper over another.
Bri’s Ultimate Trial Stash
- 20 pockets
- 20 inserts
- 5 med prefolds
- 5 covers
- 5 small prefolds
- 5 medium prefolds
- 5 large prefolds
- 2 med wool covers
- 2 AIO’s
- 5 fitteds
- 20 flour sack towels
- 2 AI2s
- 1 snappi
- 1 XL hanging wet bag
- 1 Medium wetbag
- 1 small 2-in-1 wet/dry bag
- 1 pail liner
Some Other Cloth Diaper Related Items I Use
- Baby Legs – These are totally not necessary, but super cute. Your little one can rock a cloth diaper without anything over it and their legs stay warm.
- 1 large container of coconut oil and containers to put it in – I bought the oil at Publix and cute bumble bee snack containers from the dollar store for it.
- 2 empty wipes containers – I fill these up with about 2 inches of water and put 4 or 5 cloth wipes in at a time and use them in place of disposable wipes. They work SO MUCH BETTER! I was going through 4 or 5 disposable wipes for serious poopspolsions, but cloth wipes get it done with 1 MAYBE 2. And I just stick them in the dirty cloth diaper and wash it with my diaper laundry.
- Cloth wipe holder – I actually had a WAHM make me a very cute one. You can buy them from FB groups or Etsy shops or just make your own!
- 5 cut up receiving blankets for wipes. You can serge these if you have a serger and they won’t fray, otherwise they fray the first few times you wash them, but then they eventually stop. For the most part. Or you can buy them from an awesome Work at Home Mom!
- 1 container of homemade detergent – I use this recipe for my cloth diapers and regular laundry and it has been great so far.
- 1 spray bottle of diluted lemon juice – I spray this onto seriously stained diapers them put them in the sun. Within a few hours – the stains are gone.
- 1 fold up laundry drying rack – Luckily I have a screened in porch that gets good sun for most of the day, so I just dry all my diapers on a fold up rack, putting the stained ones on the side facing the sun and the rest on the shaded side. When they are mostly dry, I pop them in the dryer for a quick fluff, then put them away.
- 5 of the previously mentioned flour sacks cut into diaper-sized liners – since I plan on reselling my cloth diapers, I wanted to line them to protect them from really bad stains. A cheap and easy way to do this is to use flour sack towels and just cut them to size, then lay them onto the cloth diaper. They wash with the diaper laundry and take on the worst of the diaper staining. I’m sure they’ll come in handy when Roree starts eating solids!
Now, I know what you’re thinking… HOLY CRAP THAT IS A LOT OF MONEY FOR A TRIAL!
And it totally is.
But, remember, no more than $10 per diaper and I also started building my stash LONG before Roree was due. So, over time, this wasn’t as hard on the wallet. I slowly built my stash and purchased what I needed. Also, most of the diapers I bought were well under $10.
I’ve been cloth diapering for two months now and my stash is perfect.
I haven’t purchased any new diapers and we’re still going strong. I love my pockets, but I was pleasantly surprised with the ease of covers and prefolds!
Pick An Appropriate Laundry Routine
There are plenty of different routines you can do to clean your diapers – it’s best to do a little research because there may be certain factors that differ – like the kind of washer and dryer you have. I know there is a different routine for Front Loader/High Efficiency washers.
Here is my routine:
- Do a load every other day. (wash my wetbags with every other diaper laundry load)
- Start with a cold/cold wash (with a lot of water) and no detergent
- Do a second wash with hot water (also with a lot of water) and 2 tablespoons of the homemade diaper detergent with the second rinse option on
- Put the clean diapers on my drying rack – the stained ones facing the sun, the others in the shade (they can all be in the sun if you want, but since I dry on the porch, only part of them get the sun)
- Spray the mega-stained diapers with diluted lemon juice
- Do a quick fluff in the dryer (no dryer sheets!) once the diapers are dried in the sun (or mostly dry) and have no stains. This usually takes a few hours, but I typically wait a whole day.
- Put away
Keep a few disposable (sposies) diapers on hand… just in case
Typically coconut oil works wonders for diaper rash and the combination of coconut oil and using cloth diapers keep diaper rashes completely away. *Fingers crossed Roree hasn’t had REALLY bad diaper rash yet. Just a little red occasionally.* But there have been one or two times that Roree’s bum was getting redder than I liked to see it, so I put her in a sposie – just once – with regular diaper cream and it went away. There are cloth diaper safe creams out there, but I’ve never tried them and I had regular cream on hand that I had gotten as gifts.
Speaking of gifts – while I was pregnant I did a raffle at my baby showers for everyone who brought diapers size 1 and up, so I had a ton of disposable diapers … and I still do since I don’t use them often at all. I’ve only had to buy disposables twice and the first time was it was a bit of a celebration after my first ultrasound and the second time was because I didn’t realize I still had some in the size I needed!
You save SO much money using cloth diapers and if the sposies that you have on hand were purchased for you anyway – you’re golden!
Communicate with fellow Cloth Diaperers Via Facebook.
Look into joining these types of Facebook groups:
- Cloth Diaper Buy/Sell/Trade – For, well, buying, selling and trading. Local ones are best because you don’t have to worry about shipping, but there are national and even international ones as well. I joined quite a few.
- Cloth Diaper Chat – These groups are great for asking questions, posting pictures of your stash and just talking about CDing!
- Cloth Diaper Co-Ops* – The ladies that direct these are absolute saints. So much work goes into them!
- WAHM Groups – You can join these and post what you’re looking for and at what price and a bunch of talented MomNerds will respond. In my experience, they have been great to work with.
*A note on Co-ops: They are a little confusing at first, but totally worth it. Basically, a bunch of cloth diaper lovers get together and buy cloth diapers in bulk which gets them awesome prices. The downside is that it usually takes a couple months for the diapers to arrive. This didn’t matter to me because I started buying in the middle of my pregnancy. Try to find co-ops that are well organized and be prepared to pay a small co op fee to the organizer (they work their butts off, so it’s worth it. And it is usually only around $2 per person) and possibly shipping unless you find a local co op and can pick up. Shipping usually isn’t bad, either. Since you’re likely paying less than half price for diapers, the shipping is nothing. Make sure you have a paypal account, because this is what is usually used for Co-ops. And, most importantly, read the rules of the co op carefully!
Don’t be afraid of Work At Home Mom Gear
There are plenty of other MomNerds out there who make beautiful and affordable cloth diapers – most of the time you get to customize them!
Don’t be afraid to buy from these talented MomNerds – the dipes are totally re-sellable if you don’t like them, but chances are you will. Like I mentioned above, there are Facebook groups out there where WAHMs are selling their beautiful diapers and even trading services. (I actually made a couple logos in exchange for some diapers – more on that in another post.)
One more important thing…
Learn the Lingo
One thing I found completely confusing was the cloth diapering lingo! Parenting itself has a ton of lingo and I was completely confused at first.
Now, I use it all the time.
Here is a list of abbreviations and lingo thanks to Diaper Jungle.
AIO – All in One diaper
AI2 – All in Two diaper
AP – Attachment parenting
BF – Breastfeed
BTDT – Been there done that
BTW – By the way
CD – cloth diaper
Crunchy – Natural lifestyle
CPF – Chinese prefold
DSQ – Diaper service quality
EC – Excellent condition
EUC – Excellent used condition
F&C – Free & Clear (used referring to detergents)
FLer – Front loader washing machine
FS – For sale
FSOT – For sale or trade
FYI – For your information
HE – High efficiency (when referring to washing machines)
Hyena – A term for hard to get, popular diapers that are stalked by diaper hungry moms
IPF – Indian Prefold
IMO – In my opinion
ISO – In search of
ITA – I totally agree
KWIM – Know what I mean
LMK – Let me know
LO – Little one
LOL – Laugh out loud
NAK – Nursing at Keyboard
PUL – polyurethane laminate, a material used to make diaper covers/wraps
ROFLOL – rolling on the floor, laughing out loud
SAHM – stay-at-home mom
TLer – Top loader washing machine
WAHM – work-at-home mom
Diaper Brands Commonly Referred To With Abbreviations:
BG – bumGenius
FM – Fluffy Mail
FMBG – Full Moon Baby Gear
FB – Fuzzi Bunz
HH – Happy Heiny’s
LC – Little Caboose
ME – Motherease
GAD – Green Acre Designs
SEZ – Snap E-Z
Happy Diapering, fellow Newbie Groupies!
Are you a MomNerd? What are you MomNerdy about?
My main MomNerdy things are: cloth diapers, babywearing and breastfeeding… for now anyway. Also, I’m a HUGE supporter of WAHMs, which is also kind of MomNerdy too.
For those who may be interested, I’m probably going to start making MomNerd badges that you can post on your own blog or on your FB page
Cloth Diapering Groupies: What are your favorite kinds of diapers?
I really like pockets, but I’m definitely falling in love with covers and flour sack towels. Fitteds actually fit the best so far.